Reflections – Olden Days

 From the Marblehead Reporter:


Edgar Bartlett's Garage in business for 90 years

Bartlett’s Garage at 1 Stacey Street in Marblehead.

Bartlett’s Garage – July 23, 2015

The best thing about Bartlett’s Garage in Marblehead is it’s location as a thriving business right in the middle of a legally enforced historic district, where you’d expect only quaint shops and trendy boutiques. Instead, Bartlett’s provides a basic service that everyone needs. Check it out.



"Jumpin Jack" Sinclair, the man who got more he paid for in Phil Regan's barber shop.

“Jumpin Jack” Sinclair on State Street in May, 1914. To the left is J.O.J. Frost’s bakery, in a building later occupied by the King’s Rook. Photo- Marblehead Historic Commission.

A Close Shave – July 2, 2015

Many Marbleheaders remember Phil Regan the barber on Washington Street, just up from Darling Street. Phil was loaded with old gossip and old Marblehead stories. When I was kid getting my haircut, my mother sat in the chairs behind and took notes. That how I was able, years after her death, to piece together the tale “Jumpin Jack’s” close shave.  Many people helped with the research: Marion Graves Anderson, Dan Dixey, Leslie Biggs Teague, Stephen P. Hall, Michelle Bates Campbell, Hooper Cutler and especially Scott Campbell who solved the mystery of Jack’s nickname.   Read All About It!

We began our dissection of the frog with this drawing in biology class

View of the frog from my 1954 biology class with Gordon McKey at Marblehead High School

Biology Forever – June 18, 2015                          Everyone who went to Marblehead High School in the 1950s remembers Gordon McKey, the dynamic biology teacher. I didn’t give him proper credit until I went back and looked though my biology notes that my mother saved. Incredible – there’s a complete college-level biology course in there. Now, 61 years later, I teach Biological Psychology at night. I threw together a new outline for this fall’s course in no time. And where did I learn do that? From Gordon McKey and Olive Elliott, the librarian at MHS, who taught us note taking and outlining. So much for the fancy graduate education!  Read on.



Biography of Joe Mitchell, Dave Crowley's uncle

Man in Profile – Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker by Thomas Kunkel

Joe Mitchell in Marblehead – May 28, 2015

Tom Kunkel’s biography of my uncle Joseph Mitchell, just released in April is an outstanding portrait of of a unique and treasured family member, now gone for 19 years. His visits to Marblehead were a special treat for me. Read on.






Teachers from Marblehead High School 1957 Yearbook

Marblehead High School 1957 Social Studies: Vera Thompson (seated); Standing (L-R) Phil Dempsey, Herm Hussey, Mr. Emery, Paul Simpson & Mr. D’Ari

Vera J. Thompson, Strict but Effective – May 14, 2015

Vera J. was one of my favorites when I took American History 60 years ago.  Find out why.





My favorite dentist in Marbleehad, Harry Bailey, DMD

Dr. Harry Bailey, DMD relaxes at home. Photo courtesy of Harry Bailey, Jr.

Dave's favorite dentist in St. Louis

Douglas T. Watanabe, DDS, St. Louis, MO

Dr. Bailey of Marblehead – March 26, 2015

I have a hard time understanding people who are afraid of their dentists. I was blessed with a wonderful dentist in my childhood, Dr. Harry K, Bailey, DMD. My teeth needed lots of work starting with braces and cavities in my baby teeth. He took care of me until I left town after college. Now in St. Louis I’m lucky enough to have one  who’s just as good, Douglas T. Watanabe. Thanks to both of them I have my own teeth (mostly) at 76. Read on.



Hauling lobster pots

Henry Briggs hauls lobster pots. From “Marblehead’s First Harbor” by Hugh Bishop and Brenda Booma (History Press, Charleston, 2011)

Browns Island – February 26, 2015

Dave, at five, enjoys a Browns Island picnic, and then gets to Everett Goodwin haul lobster pots. Check it out here.






A simply toy - the cap blaster that sparked my interest in aviation

Dave Crowley (left) and Tommy White with a 1937 patent drawing for a cap blaster

Cap Blaster – February 19, 2015

A simple toy on the Gerry School playground led my friend Tommy White and me to a lifelong interest in aviation. It was the closest thing to a rocket that we could find at age nine. The next step was model airplanes and, for Tommy, a career in aviation. See more.


Crystal Radio promoted on the "Dick Tracy" readio serial in the 1940s

Dick Tracy Wrist Radio – It Worked!

The Magic Of Radio SerialsDecember 25, 2014

Radio serials came as a complete surprise to me when we moved to Marblehead in August 1944 when I was five. They gave me a whole new set of friends, from “Superman” through “Straight Arrow” to “Captain Midnight.” And they had wonderful gadgets your could send away. Things like the Dick Tracy Wrist Radio that actually worked, and more.

Gordon's Stationery

Harold and Elsie Hammond at Gordon’s counter in the early 1950s. Photo courtesy of Dan Dixey

Gordon’s Stationery  – December 11,2014

You could get everything you needed in Market Square in Marblehead when I was a kid in the 1940s and ’50s, especially at Gordon’s.  Click here to find out what they had.




The last of the Old Horward burlesque house in Boston

A program from the last years of the Old Howard which closed in 1953. Restoration plans were curtailed by a disastrous fire in 1961. Courtesy Photo

Adventures at ‘Casino Follies”, August 21, 2014

A few times during my senior in Marblehead High School a few of us ventured in to the Casino Follies burlesque show just off Scollay Square in Boston. How she show lived up to our expectations. Find out here.








BB Gun powered by rubber band, like a slingshot

Johnson Indoor Target Gun

Dave’s BB Gun in Marblehead, July 24, 2014

Just like little Ralphie in the “Christmas Story” classic, Dave wanted his own BB gun at age nine. Here’s what he got. Read on

Dave's father at the Boston Herald Traveler - 1947

Joe Crowley in the slot congratulating Eliis Heneberger on his retirement in September 1947

A Tour of the Herald Traveler – July 3, 2014 I toured the Boston Herald Traveler in 1947 when I was 8 with my dad, Joe Crowley. I learned every step of what it took produce a major daily newspaper, from the copy editing to the Linotype machines, to he paper mats and finally to huge presses on the ground floor. I spite of my  fascination with this process I decided on a different career. Read more



Hurricane Carol in MArblehead, Mass

The schooner Mohawk after Hurricane Carol washed it ashore on August 31, 1954 Photo from Life Magazine

Hurricane Carol – June 18, 2014

I tied up my dory at the old Boston Yacht Club at Front and State streets and hoped if would be safe. As Hurricane Carol approached I tried haul it up onto the float, but almost fell it when the boat got away from me. Several weeks later I was able to retrieve and repair it saving it from becoming firewood like the apple tree in out yard – another casualty of Carol. Click to continue



Marblehead summer home of Dr. Sturgis in the 1940s

The summer home of Dr. Sturgis at 34 High Street, where Dave and his parents lived in rented rooms in the summer of 1951

Dr. Sturgis – May 8, 2014

I met her in 1944, when I was five. We had just moved to Marblehead and her back yard faced our house at 3 Elm Street. She may have been around 70 then and it was clear that she loved children, although she had none of her own. She had graduated from medical school when few women, but never practiced medicine – some problem in her family, I think. A group of us played musical chairs in her parlor as she accompanied our jumping and running from the piano.  Click to continue

A Larsen Christmas in the late 1950s. Seated left to right: Dave, Elsa Brown, Mrs. Selmer-Larsen, Ann Larsen, Margaret Larsen, Dave's mother Maude and father Joe. Standing: Erik Brown and Ingrid Selmer-Larsen

A Larsen Christmas in the late 1950s. Seated left to right: Dave, Elsa Brown, Mrs. Selmer-Larsen, Ann Larsen, Margaret Selmer-Larsen, Dave’s mother Maude and father Joe. Standing: Erik Brown and Ingrid Selmer-Larsen

A Larsen Christmas – November 28, 2013

With the traditional Norwegian summons, “Vaer sa god,” meaning “be so good,” Mrs. Larsen would call us to diner for the annual Christmas Eve feast of sweetened rice porridge, lamb or pork, and other traditional Scandinavian delicacies. Click to continue




The Hanna Glover under way. Photo by Kimberly Gallagher

The Hanna Glover under way. Photo by Kimberly Gallagher

A Hobby – October 10, 2013

It all started in Marblehead in 1944 when I was five. We had just moved to town and I was playing with my new friends on Dunn’s Lane, Billy and Stevie Goodwin and a couple of others. We heard a siren and one of the said, “It’s a fire, let’s go!” Click to continue


Father Collins & fire chief John Adams at the Orne Street explosion scene

Father Collins & fire chief John Adams at the Orne Street explosion scene

Father Collins – September 19, 2013

For everyone in Marblehead when I was kid, Father Michael Collins was the face and voice of the Catholic Church…My confession, like every Catholic child’s, came from a prescribed list: so many “taking the Lord’s name in vain” — that covered swearing; a few “talking back to our parents,” and a usually underestimated number of “impure thoughts.”  Click to continue


Ethel Waters, Julie Harris and Brandon DeWilde in "Member of the Wedding" from 1952

Ethel Waters, Julie Harris and Brandon DeWilde in “Member of the Wedding” from 1952

Marblehead Summer Theater – Sept 5, 2013

The Social Security statement that I reviewed in preparing for retirement showed that my first recorded earnings were $165 dollars in 1955. That was my job as a stage carpenter for the Marblehead Summer Theater when I was 16. Click to continue


25 Orne Street, June 21, 1951

25 Orne Street, June 21, 1951

Facebook Diaspora – August 22, 2013

The internet has been a boon for all of us who live far from Marblehead and still love our home town… For a long time I ignored the internet’s social networking sites. After all, that was for kids, and I’m a grandfather.  But that changed in 2006 when my daughter told me of the wonderful Marblehead photos she had found on Facebook. Click to continue


Dave (left) and Freddy in a Polaroid shot from 1949. Photo restoration by Wally Beagley

Dave (left) and Freddy in a Polaroid shot from 1949. Photo restoration by Wally Beagley

Freddy – August 8, 2013

We arrived from St. Louis and turned into Stacey Street in Marblehead, just opposite the Old North Church. With Edgar Bartlett’s Garage on the right, we drove straight on between high hedges. A narrow lane on the left led to our B&B at 10 Stacey Court — and to the house at 8 Stacey Court, where my childhood friend Freddy Petersen had lived. I was delighted to see that the large willow with its spreading limbs and the wide expanse of lawn where Freddy and I played was still there. Click to continue




Dorothy Palmer at tea. October 20, 1951

Dorothy Palmer at tea. October 20, 1951

Dave’s First Job August 9, 2012

One day in the summer of 1947, when I was eight, my mother, father and I stopped at the Barnacle, a seaside sandwich shop on Marblehead Harbor, in Massachusetts where I grew up.  My mother, who had been a reporter in New York and who had written two children’s books never hesitated to befriend strangers especially if she detected a whiff of eccentricity about them.  A couple who seemed a bit older than my parents sat near us at lunch. Click to continue